Sharing of Work-in-Progress
Join us for an evening of work-in-progress by our Restorative Stories participants.
Featuring: Charles Day, Cydni Jenkins, M. J. Kang, Amita Sharma, Demonte Thompson, Bilgin Turker, Varina Wakeman and Anastasia Washington
Meet our Restorative Stories Recipients:
Charles Day is a native New Yorker who was born in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. His love of the arts developed while attending Broadway shows with his grandparents, which led to his enrollment at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art. After graduating he joined the City Kids Repertory Company where, mentored by Malik Yoba, he performed at many venues around New York City including Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden. He has appeared in several off-Broadway plays including the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Julius Cesar at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Charles’s journey as a writer began by participating in writing workshops facilitated by the Brooklyn Public Library and Bryant Park’s Reading Room Writer’s Program. In January of 2020 his short story, The Floating Violin, was translated into Spanish and published on the Guardianes de la Memoria podcast, as part of an episode called Un regalo para ti (A Gift for You). In the spring of 2020, he completed his first full-length play, For All We Know, under the tutelage of Scott Organ at the Barrow Group School. Charles is honored to be part of the Restorative Stories Workshop.
Cydni Jenkins is a Bronx native who has always seen herself to be in entertainment. Although she went to school for business management and worked in the music industry for 10 years, she soon followed her passion to become an actress. She has previously trained with The Barrow Group and is mostly known for her work in The Juju Webseries (available on Amazon Prime). Cydni continues to practice her craft, receiving coaching and creating content online (IG: @CydniJenkins)
M.J. Kang is a playwright, actor, storyteller and director. She has acted across stages in Canada, the US and London, UK. Currently, she is part of the Playwrights Group at Company of Angels, working on the feature film, Moving Day, produced by Cotton Bush Productions, and directing long form narrative genre improv with various organizations and groups around the world. She has won The Moth story slam three times as well as the National Storytellers Network slam and Story Collider story slam. Her personal stories have been featured on PBS' Stores From The Stage, USA Today's Storytellers Project and RISK! podcast and live shows. She was born in Seoul, Korea, raised in Toronto, Canada and currently lives in Los Angeles.
Amita Sharma is an actor and writer based in Brooklyn. She trained in the Meisner Technique and completed the improv program at UCB. Growing up, she was drawn to storytelling and film due to a lot of idle suburban boredom, and renting every film possible from the local Blockbuster Video. A brown girl who grew up in Iowa, and then the outskirts of Detroit, she has some unique stories to share about being an American. In her free time, she tries to write as much as possible. You can learn more about her at www.amita-sharma.com
Demonte Thompson is a true student of the arts. Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Demonte's first introduction to the stage was in church as a young child, it wouldn't be long after that he would realize it's where his passion lies. His first love was acting, having done his first play outside of church at 12 and his first film at 14. Demonte would later find a love of writing and filmmaking in high school at the Detroit School of Arts where he studied film production along with drama. By his senior year Demonte really fancied himself an artist above anything else branching out into rap music and even releasing some singles independently. By the age of 18, he moved to New York City to attend The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, of which he is now an alumnus. Demonte is currently based in Queens, NY and working as a full time creative in film, theater, music, and acting.
Bilgin Turker is an actor, writer and director in theatre, film and now Zoom. You can catch her in films, Mount Joy (Indie City Films), and The Ones That Have Fallen (Five Sigma Films). Past stage work includes Elaine Kaufman in Steinbrenner (Urban Stages), and Fadya in The Basement (ANDTheatre Company). She recently played multiple characters in a Zoom reading of The Deliverer for The Vancouver Horror Show. In her free time, she writes, takes classes, and walks her dog Jett.
Varina Wakeman is readjusting to life on land after 11 years living on a boat with her husband and son. She is also celebrating her 51st trip around the sun with creative intention, putting focus back on her storytelling through writing and acting. Her favourite things include chocolate, coffee & poutine, and spelling such words as “favourite” and “harbour” with a “u”.
Anastasia Washington is a Bi Racial Actress, Comedian, Filmmaker. A former child actor (under a different name, because, Hollywood) and LA native, she saw the industry at its best and worst. Now as an adult she hopes to be the change she wishes to see in the world. You can find Anastasia making bold, diverse content through writing and filmmaking. Even in these unique times, during the year 2020 she has produced and starred in her One Woman Show, 50 Shades of Mixed: Confessions of your Ethnically Ambiguous Best Friend, which ran at the Black Voices Festival and is now doing an encore at Solo Fest. She also produced, directed, wrote and starred in a web series called Disordered, which takes on Eating Disorders and more from a non skinny non white girl perspective. In the coming months, she intends to produce a Comedy Special that focuses on waking people up and humorously giving lessons on her experience as a BIPOC in the industry. As well as doing a Comedy Album. She has written a few pilots focusing on family dynamics and growing up in the industry. She is also working on feature films that discuss colorism, discrimination and true crime, all through horror and comedy. She's the female Jordan Peele who's not gonna quit acting. Anastasia has the privilege to be a member of SAG/AFTRA, AWD, WIF, and WOC Unite.
The Restorative Stories Project
About The Restorative Stories Project:
The Barrow Group (TBG) believes stories have the power to transform lives for the better – by helping people connect with their humanity through a greater understanding of themselves, others, and the world. As part of our Restorative Stories Project, TBG regularly curates personal stories that enlighten and inspire.
As part of our ongoing efforts to increase inclusion in the performing arts field, The Barrow Group selected and collaborated with BIPOC artists to develop their stories. Selected artists participated in a free 10-week story development workshop with Seth Barrish (Co-Artistic Director of The Barrow Group, director of Mike Birbiglia’s Broadway show The New One). The workshop is culminating in this sharing of work-in-progress. Additionally, participants received a small honorarium.